The Brazil nut (Bertholletia excelsa) is a South American tree belonging to the same order Ericales, known to be with other plants like blueberries and cranberries. Its conservation status is rated under vulnerable which means that it may become endangered unless the circumstances that are threatening its survival and reproduction improve. When being grown, the fruit takes 14 months to mature after pollination where the can be in 10 to 15 cm in diameter.
Here are the 7 health benefits of Brazil nuts.
1. Brazil nuts could help regulate thyroid function.
Proper thyroid function may depend on selenium deficiency. The thyroid gland is a small butterfly-shaped gland found just below your Adam’s apple. It controls everyday functions like the regulation of appetite, sleep, temperature, weight, and metabolism. Selenium consumption could help patients with illnesses like Hashimoto’s disease, Grave’s disease, and anti-TPO antibodies.
2. Brazil nuts may help improve asthma symptoms.
Studies have suggested that patients with long-term asthma may have lower levels of selenium. When the patients engaged in selenium supplementation, the researchers found that the asthmatic symptoms reduced relative to placebo. More research is being conducted in this area.
3. Brazil nuts could help you maintain a healthy weight.
Brazil nuts are calorically-dense and nutritionally-dense. One hundred grams of brazil nuts contain 656 calories. Most of the calories come from the high-fat content, mainly from monounsaturated fatty acids (MUFA) like palmitoleic acid (16:1) and oleic acid (18:1). These types of MUFA can help decrease low-density lipoproteins (LDL) or “bad cholesterol” and help increase high-density lipoproteins (HDL) or “good cholesterol” levels in the blood.
4. Brazil nuts could help lower the risk of heart disease.
Observational studies reveal that low selenium concentrations are linked with an increased risk of coronary heart disease due to selenium’s ability to fight inflammation, improve blood flow, and provide antioxidant activity. Also, oleic acid may help protect against heart disease. A seven country-study found that people who foods with monosaturated fats had lower rates of heart disease.
5. Brazil nuts could help make your skin glow and smooth.
Brazil nuts are loaded with zinc, which can help fight acne. Research suggested that patients with acne have decreased levels of zinc than people with clear skin. Supplementation could reduce acne by 50%. Test tube studies have suggested that zinc kills acne-causing bacteria and pose as a natural acne killing agent. Also, zinc reduces the inflammatory response to bacteria, making the red pimples disappear.
6. Brazil nuts may have anticancer properties.
There is no bulletproof vest against cancer; however, there are foods you can eat that could help reduce the risk of cancer. Brazil nuts are one of those foods because of the abundant ellagic acid and selenium content. A study published in the BioMed Research International found that ellagic acid is antimutagenic as well as anticancerous. Another study published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute found an inverse relationship between serum selenium levels and esophageal cancer.
7. Brazil nuts could help improve your digestive system.
Brazil nuts are loaded with fiber with could help move food through the digestive system while extracting as many nutrients as possible. Diets high in dietary fiber could also help prevent stomach ulcers, constipation, bloating, and even colon cancer. One hundred grams of Brazil nuts contain 8 grams of dietary fiber, according to the United States Department of Agriculture. Individuals who eat regularly a Western diet do not eat enough fiber. Men and women are to eat 38 grams and 25 grams of fiber, respectively.